When Ashley Monroe from my home town was 16, she recognized the need to do something drastic. She was tired of hearing everyone in her high school putting themselves down. She wrote, “You’re Beautiful” on 1,986 sticky notes and placed them on every locker to make a statement. My son was one of the recipients of these notes and was very touched by it. Many of those students had gotten into a place where they were putting themselves down initially for attention but after a while, started to believe what they were saying about themselves.
It’s a shame that so many of us see ourselves in a negative light. I have spoken with so many people who are told they are beautiful but still choose to not believe it. We are so busy criticizing ourselves and assuming what others are thinking about us and worrying about them judging us that we do not take the time to appreciate the good things about ourselves.
Back In Time
Let’s stroll back in time and take a look at some of the things you remember being told about yourself. Did people point out what they thought were your physical imperfections? Did they tell you that you were not good enough at something you really wanted to do? Did someone simply just have a way of berating you and making you feel “less-than?” Or were you the culprit, keeping yourself down with negative self talk? You may have chosen to believe it simply because it was said or you heard it in your own voice. You may have even trusted the person it came from.
We also watch what others do and are capable of and we compare our best to theirs and if we don’t match that in our own eyes, instead of working harder, putting in the time and focusing on just improving where we start from, we lie to ourselves. We say that we are not good enough to compete with them. The thing is, often times we don’t stop there. Those thoughts start reminding us of all the ways we did not measure up in our own minds and we end up believing that we just aren’t good enough, period. This sets us up for all kinds of future issues. Have you ever caught yourself doing this?
What you may not have realized was that you actually had the choice to hold on to it or discard it. We also have the choice to believe that when it comes to competing, we should only compete with ourselves. We all have our own starting points and should compare ourselves only to our most recent best.
Making the Change
Are you ready to put all of this behind you? Only you have the power. It may seem unnatural at first because of what you are used to, but if you make the following steps a habit, you will guarantee yourself some freedom from that negativity you keep hearing inside your own head.
1. You must stop listening to other people’s negativity. If someone has something to say to you that is negative, dismiss it immediately. Do not get defensive and argue about it with someone because adding emotion to the situation causes the memories and the pain of it to last longer. Remember that some people are just insecure or angry and lash out at other people without regard for their feelings. Often times it comes from insecurity and is not the truth.
2. Always be aware of your thoughts. Pay close attention to what you hear yourself saying inside your own head. Follow the above instructions by dismissing the negative immediately.
3. Question what you once thought was truth. Realize that the only things that are actually true are things you decide to believe.
4. Make a change only under your own terms. For instance, if someone comments negatively about your weight, whether the scale reflects what they say or not, never make the change based on their comments. Only make changes for yourself. If you are not ready for the change and do something to make a statement based on someone else’s judgment, any results you experience will not be lasting.
5. Call the person out on it if you are comfortable. State the opposite aloud. If someone tells you that you’re hair looks terrible, thank them and tell them that it wasn’t them you were trying to impress and that you happen to like it that way. Do not let them have power over your thoughts.
6. Affirm the opposite. In correlation with number 5, use a positive statement to counteract what someone has said or what you are saying in your head, such as, instead of, “I look fat in this dress,” use, “I look amazing in this dress. I am so glad I made the choice to wear it today,” and BELIEVE that statement. Affirming the positive will lessen the chances of the negative sticking in your head. Creating any kind of affirmation and repeating it on a daily basis to counteract something you feel you are stuck on and posting where you can repeat it aloud before bed and in the morning is a very efficient way to create change.
7. Eliminate past judgments. For the old tapes we play in our head that were perhaps from ourselves, our parents, siblings, friends or relatives years ago, discard the tape or tape over it. Remind yourself that the person may have thought they were helping you in some way but in no way were they telling you the truth.
8. Do the opposite. Perhaps you quit at something when you were young because you didn’t like it. It does not make you a quitter. Find something you like and stick with it and you will create a new positive label.
9. Forgive. It is important when trying to let something go that you forgive the person who you feel is responsible for placing a label or negative thought in your head but at the same time realize, only you have the power to believe what someone says about you. It does not need to be your truth.
10. Simply relax and never, ever, take things personal. This cannot be stressed enough. So many things are said carelessly by others and once out of their mouths they have forgotten what they even said. By taking something personal you are not only assuming how it was meant but you set yourself up to hold onto that negative. Feel free to ask questions as to why the person said what they did. Having clarification may help you to understand it was not meant as a personal attack.
Feel free to print these steps out and place them on your fridge or bathroom mirror where you can be reminded of them on a regular basis.
Taking these steps will hopefully start you in the right direction of starting to see yourself in a much kinder light and lead you toward a greater inner peace and happiness. This will alleviate some of the stress and anxiety you may feel when you are out amongst others. Not everyone is judging you. Most people who do not know you will look at you and look away without a second thought. Those who interact with you, if they are a person of integrity, will see you for who you are through your personality.
One of my favorite quotes is from Bernard Burach which states, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Keep this quote in mind when faced with the judgment of others.
Please discuss below ways you would recommend for other people to help them see themselves in a better light.
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